Today I was remembering a walk in a beach a long time ago now, when I believe I saw supernatural in-breaking of the Kingdom of God accompanying the meeting of the very human need and desire of a small child ,who had been through a time of strain, to walk and play on the beach. I won’t go into the whole story as many of you will have heard it before anyway. But the result of that day is that ever since I have carried a vision of God’s Kingdom that has a more human need based face than I had before. Oh there was always a human need aspect to what I thought of when I thought of God’s Kingdom breaking in: men, women and children would find their deepest need for repentance and reconciliation with God met. For me there is no greater need than that, but in a sense my vision up until that walk on the beach was a bit limited.
This is the season when we will remember that a child is born to us a Son is given to us… and the Government shall be upon his shoulders, a government that will increase and know no end.
What does your vision of the Kingdom of God breaking in and becoming real look like.
Today I made some rough notes as I was reading some of Henri Nouwen’s writings and also some bits and pieces from Brennan Manning. Here are some half-quotes and the attendant thoughts scribbled in my notebook. Allow me to share them with you with slight alterations to make them remotely sensible to you and not just to me:
Sparked off by H. Nouwen: “When I think about The Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of Heaven, is there room in my vision for some of the phrases and thoughts awakened by verses about God’s Kingdom in Scripture that H.N. uses in his writings?
‘… a peaceable kingdom in which all violence has been overcome and (in which) all men, women and children (are) living in loving unity with nature….
…every time we forgive….make a child smile…. show compassion…. arrange a bouquet of flowers….offer care to tame or wild animals…..prevent pollution….create beauty in our homes and gardens….work for peace and justice…..we are making the vision come true…’
I feel thanksgiving arising for Flower Festivals in Churches (never thought that day would come in time or eternity, I have to say!) and Donkey Sanctuaries….Love it!” I wonder if a Pentecostal has ever written a book called, “God’s KIngdom: In praise of Flower Festivals and Doneky Sanctuaries.” Mmm…maybe….
Sparked off by B. Manning: “What does the Government that was placed upon Christ’s shoulders look like. I guess it is the mantle of the cross and its outworking as it grows on the earth is cross shaped too:
B.Manning: ‘accepted suffering is not just a good way of doing things, or an ideal to be carried out when convenient – it’s the only way to overcome evil. The only way. This goes cross grain to every molecule in me, Father. Yet, I pray not my will but yours this day.’
Jesus’s Kingdom will grow on earth through me this day, when I conquer evil in the ways it seeks to destroy the will of God in me or in others I meet this day in my life or theirs, my circumstances or theirs, in the continuing story of God in me or in them. It cannot be reduced to programmes or movements. The weapons at times look inferior, less forceful than the weapons evil uses, but Jesus showed they worked: the cross could be mocked, but the weakness of God (astonishing phrase) was the power of God. Violence, injustice, betrayal seem so hideously strong, but if the government is upon Christ’s shoulder it means despite all appearances, mercy, non retaliation, love, prayer, weakness yielded to God are more powerful still.”
Further thoughts over night:
The cross, the government laid upon His shoulders:
What a comfortable place the uncomfortable Kingdom of God is to live in when you spiritualise it all…..de-flesh the Word, adhere to principles without doing the deeds, turn an altar of comnsuming blazing fire into smoke machine smoochy ballads, remove the life long debt of gratitude from the debt cancelling cross.
I hope my jottings bless you. If not, well they blessed me anyway when first jotted them!